The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Mets by an 8-5 final score on Wednesday night, clinching the franchise’s first AL East pennant since 2010 and only the third in the team’s history.
The Rays, who were considered along with the New York Yankees to be the two strongest teams in the division heading into the season, outlasted the big-budget Yankees to claim their spot on top of one of baseball’s toughest divisions.
In a typical Rays game, the team got an excellent starting outing from pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who struck out 8 batters and allowed only 2 runs in 6 innings of work.
Tampa was knotted in a 2-2 pitcher’s duel until the top of the sixth inning, when outfielder Randy Arozarena smacked a two-run homer off of Mets starter Michael Wacha. He hit two home runs on the night.
Rays veteran outfielder Kevin Kiermaier spoke to the importance of winning the division after the game, saying, “It feels great to win the division, no matter what division you’re in. But especially the American League East—it’s just a different animal.”
The Rays will be the #1 seed in the AL playoffs barring an improbable comeback by the Minnesota Twins or Chicago White Sox and are set to face the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round.